K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students learn to maintain a continuous air stream while tonguing easy rhythms from the board and/or from the method book.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

1 day

Materials/resources

  • markerboard or chalkboard
  • student method books
  • instruments

Pre-activities

Students have concepts of and abilities in posture, breathing, embouchure, initiating a tone with the tongue, and experience playing long tones. Basic knowledge of easy rhythms is also necessary.

Activities

  1. Begin with familiar pitches played in long tones.
  2. Without instruments, have each individual demonstrate their initial articulation (attack) by singing the appropriate consonant or blend—“too” for flutes and brasses and “thoo” for reeds.
  3. When technique is appropriate, have the student repeat their articulation and speed it up—“too--,” “tootootoo--,” “tootootootootoo--.” This last extended pattern is called burst tonguing.
  4. Demonstrate a pitch. Then conduct the class singing a long tone with a fermata.
  5. Using the same pitch, conduct the class singing the burst tongue pattern with a fermata. (The pattern should begin together, but individuals will have different tonguing speeds.)
  6. Combine the long tone and burst tongue patterns into one exercise. As one breath is the key to success, keep the fermatas short.
  7. Assign a pitch and have the students play the combined long tone and burst tongue pattern. Repeat as necessary to monitor the students’ preparation breath, initiation of tone, continuing the air from long tone into the burst tongue pattern, and following conducting cues.
  8. Check sections, small groups, and individuals. All students should be listening to and watching the performers.
  9. Apply this exercise to actual rhythms in the method book. Some rhythmic groupings may be too long for some beginners to sustain. In this case, use the board and diminish the rhythms—a whole note and four quarter notes can be rewritten as a half note and four eighth notes. All students can succeed with small modifications such as these.

Assessment

Teacher will watch and listen to individuals as they play the exercise in one breath, play method book excerpts in one breath, and/or play the board exercises in one breath.

The attached rubric can be helpful in assessing students’ performance.

Supplemental information

Comments

All students can learn the concept of this exercise in one class period. With larger classes, however, the teacher may need to use more than one class period to evaluate all individuals. This exercise should be repeated over the course of several weeks, and the fermatas should be lengthened to foster endurance. This is one technique that works well to eliminate “huffing and puffing.”

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Music Education (2010)
      • Grade 6

        • 6.ML.1 Apply the elements of music and musical techniques in order to sing and play music with accuracy and expression. 6.ML.1.1 Use steady tone when performing music. 6.ML.1.2 Recognize the fundamental techniques necessary to sing and play an instrument....
      • Grade 7

        • 7.ML.1 Apply the elements of music and musical techniques in order to sing and play music with accuracy and expression. 7.ML.1.1 Use developing tone and discriminating pitch when performing music. 7.ML.1.2 Use the fundamental techniques (such as posture, playing...
      • Grade 8

        • 8.ML.1 Apply the elements of music and musical techniques in order to sing and play music with accuracy and expression. 8.ML.1.1 Use characteristic tone and consistent pitch when performing music alone and collaboratively, in small and large ensembles, using...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Music Education (2001)

Grade 6

  • Goal 2: The learner will play on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
    • Objective 2.01: Play at least one instrument with appropriate posture, playing position, and technique.
    • Objective 2.05: Play on at least one instrument, music at an appropriate and increasingly difficult level, with expressiveness and technical accuracy.

Grade 7

  • Goal 2: The learner will play on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
    • Objective 2.01: Play at least one instrument with appropriate posture, playing position, and technique.
    • Objective 2.06: Play on at least one instrument, music at an appropriate and increasingly difficult level, with expression and technical accuracy.

Grade 8

  • Goal 2: The learner will play on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
    • Objective 2.01: Play at least one instrument with appropriate posture, playing position, and technique.